The Nanny or The Nanni?!

If you have read my blog before, you know I’m East Indian. That means that we have a few of our own nuances and idiosyncrasies. I always feel the need to remind every one of that before I share something personal because it can mean that situations I’m writing about may seem slightly foreign (for lack of a better word) to other mommies.

One of those such situations is the pressure on us as mothers NOT to entrust our children in the hands of nannies or daycare workers. God forbid the horror. Nameless, faceless strangers who quite possibly are Satan worshipping, sadistic, psychopathic murderers if you believe the stories. According to the older generation, no one can care better for your children than their own grandparents. This may not always be possible but more often than not, it’s the norm. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure which is better – the nanny or the nanni (grandmother)! That being said, my mother-in-law is the one who babysits my daughter while I’m at work and she does a great job of it. Having a nanny was never an option for us as I’m sure it would have horribly offended everyone’s sensibilities.  However, I’m just not convinced that it still wouldn’t be easier to have a nanny sometimes.

To begin with, a nanny works for you.  Your mother-in-law or mother does not. Lord have mercy, does that ever make the biggest difference. A big, suck ass, not fun difference to be clear. Let me outline just some of the differences:

  • You hire a nanny to work around your schedule. You tell her the hours and that’s pretty much it. Well, a nanni (or dhadhiji or whatever your child calls their grandmother) isn’t hired to work around anyone’s timetable. Granted, most of the time it’s not a big deal but there have been just a few too many instances where my daughter has been dropped off at my workplace because my mother-in-law had somewhere to go. Not exactly fun when you have a million things to do and a crying toddler doesn’t make it any easier.
  • Your nanny will follow your rules. Have you ever tried to get your child’s grandparents to even listen to your rules, let alone follow them? It’s practically impossible. We raise our daughter dairy, gluten, and refined sugar free in our household. While we have made her grandparents very aware of this, I’m pretty convinced that all goes out the window once we’re out of eyesight. My sister has the same problem with my mother when she’s watching her daughter. The worst part is that they will lie straight to your face and unashamedly so if you ask whether they follow the diet guidelines.
  • Your nanny often helps out with household tasks. I have friends with nannies who clean, cook, do laundry, iron clothes, and even shop for groceries. One nanny even stained the deck! Hearing their stories makes me absolutely and undeniably green with envy. In case you’re wondering, mother-in-laws do none of the aforementioned. Double ugh.
  • Your nanny’s job is the children. This is a big one. Your nanny may help out with the household chores but she is fully aware that her priority is the children. This means that she must take full responsibility for what the children are doing during the day and this means more than just planting them in front of the television. A grandmother doesn’t consider her grandchild her job. It’s her joy and that means spoiling the living crap out of them. If the child wants to watch television all day, that’s just what the blessed child will get. It’s almost as though grandparents forget discipline as soon as any grandchildren are born. My mother used a wooden spoon on me but now she tells me she finds it hard to even scold my daughter?! Are you friggin’ kidding me?! This is what I deal with.

Those are just a few of my issues with NOT having a nanny. But there are certain things that make up for all that. I never have to worry about whether my daughter is mistreated in any way. I know she’s with someone who loves her unconditionally and would never willingly bring her any harm. My daughter will never have to deal with a nanny quitting and breaking her heart. More importantly, I will never have to deal with a nanny not quitting and my daughter loving her more than me and thus, breaking my heart. And at the end of the day, that makes it all worth it….unless of course, you have a nanny you’d lend me for part of the day – maybe just long enough to cook dinner in the evenings?


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